Pearl barley, parsnip & sage risotto

Pearl barley makes a great alternative to rice in this vegetarian risotto recipe flavoured with sage, garlic and Parmesan

  • Prep:5 mins
    Cook:55 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 629
  • fat 12g
  • saturates 6g
  • carbs 107g
  • sugars 14g
  • fibre 13g
  • protein 15g
  • salt 1.2g


  • 25g butter, plus an extra knob to stir through
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 parsnips, about 500g, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 10 sage leaves, shredded, plus extra to serve
  • 400g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1.4l hot vegetable stock
  • 25g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve


  1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and cook gently for 5 mins. Tip in the parsnips, turn up the heat and cook for 8-10 mins, stirring every so often, until the parsnips are starting to brown and caramelise.

  2. Add the garlic and sage, and mix through. Tip in the barley and stir to coat well. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 35-40 mins, or until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed and the pearl barley is tender but still has a bite. You may need to add a little extra boiling water.

  3. Take off the heat, top with the Parmesan and a knob of butter, then leave to melt. Give the risotto a good stir, then spoon into dishes. Top with more sage, Parmesan and some black pepper.

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